Mayo Clinic's approach
Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel diagnosis and care (cardiovascular medicine) and surgery (cardiovascular surgeons) have expertise evaluating and treating all aortic conditions. These doctors and other specialists work together as a multidisciplinary team to provide you with coordinated care.
The medical aortic specialists evaluate people with aneurysms, which includes a thorough personal and family history, a detailed assessment to find the cause of an aneurysm, and a full evaluation for additional aneurysms.
Consultation with genetic specialists and genetic testing is often suggested when other family members have an aneurysm or are less than age 70 years when an aortic aneurysm is detected. A treatment plan is developed including determining the most appropriate medical therapy, regular cardiology follow-up and determining the most appropriate time for surgery. Surgeons have extensive experience performing complex procedures such as aortic surgery, including aortic root replacement and valve-sparing aortic root repair.
Thoracic aortic aneurysm
A thoracic aortic aneurysm is a weakened area in the upper part of the aorta — the major blood vessel that feeds blood to the body. Aneurysms can develop anywhere in the aorta.
Mayo Clinic doctors use detailed imaging tests, such as transesophageal echocardiogram, CT angiogram and MRI angiogram to diagnose aortic aneurysms. The latest imaging tests are also used to look for tears in the inner layer of the aortic wall (aortic dissection) and determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.
Ascending aortic root aneurysm procedure
An ascending aortic root aneurysm procedure may be performed in two ways. In aortic root replacement, your surgeon removes a section of your aorta and your aortic valve, and replaces the section of the aorta with an artificial tube (graft). The aortic valve is replaced with a mechanical or biological valve, shown in the bottom right image. Alternatively, you may have valve-sparing aortic root repair, shown in the top right image, in which your surgeon replaces the enlarged section of the aorta with a graft, and the aortic valve remains in place.
Mayo Clinic offers several types of aortic root surgery, including:
- Aortic valve and root replacement. In aortic valve and root replacement (composite aortic root replacement), your surgeon removes a section of your aorta and your aortic valve. The section of your aorta is replaced with an artificial tube (graft), and your aortic valve is replaced with a mechanical or biological valve. If you have a mechanical valve, you'll need to take anticoagulant medications for life to prevent blood clots.
- Valve-sparing aortic root repair. In this procedure, your surgeon replaces the enlarged section of your aorta with an artificial tube (graft). Your aortic valve remains in place. In one technique, your surgeon sutures the valve inside of the graft.
If you have certain other heart conditions, your surgeon may perform additional procedures to treat these conditions at the same time as aortic root surgery.
Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement: What Patients Need to Know
Expertise and rankings
Mayo Clinic cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons have expertise and experience evaluating and treating all aortic conditions.
Although aortic root surgery isn't a common procedure, Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose and treat nearly 150 people each year.
Nationally recognized expertise
Mayo Clinic campuses are nationally recognized for expertise in cardiology and cardiovascular surgery:
- Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.
- Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Children's Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.
Learn more about Mayo Clinic's cardiac surgery and cardiovascular diseases departments' expertise and rankings.
Locations, travel and lodging
Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.
For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:
Costs and insurance
Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.
In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.
Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.
Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.